Do you remember a few decades ago there was a series of books, Whatever Became Of…? Those books were treasures in reminding of us of “stars” who had been forgotten.
Yes, throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age — the 30s, 40s and 50s — there were many film performers who were considered stars, but who had brief careers and were out of the business and almost forgotten before their deaths. That series of books brought them to life again, if only for a brief time.
For the next several weeks on Fridays we’re going to devote our space to such people and today we begin with a woman, Milly Vitale, whose career was short lived but who made an impact.
Today she is best remembered one film, The Seven Little Foys, which starred Bob Hope as Eddie Foy, Sr. Vitale played his wife, Madeliene Morundo.
Camilla Vitale was born into a show business family, her father was a conductor, Riccardo Vitale and her mother, Natasha Shidlowski, a choreographer. She started her career in her native Italy and had made a dozen films before most Americans heard of her.
Vitale’s first English film was The Juggler, which was produced by Stanley Kramer, directed by Edward Dymtryk and starred Kirk Doulgas, as a tormented Jewish refugee trying to adapt to a new life in Israel. It’s a small gem of a film. See it.
Then she got her chance in Hollywood, with Paramount. After The Seven Little Foys she was seen in the epic War and Peace. She appeared in two dozen more films made in Britain and Italy before retiring in 1970. She died in 2006 in Rome which had also been the city of her birth.